Dreyer & Reinbold Racing co-owner Robbie Buhl intimated late last week that, should they be able to place primary driver Felipe Giaffone solid in the field for the 88th running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race with the ...
Dreyer & Reinbold Racing co-owner Robbie Buhl intimated late last week that, should they be able to place primary driver Felipe Giaffone solid in the field for the 88th running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race with the #24 Purex/Aventis Dallara/Chevrolet, it was likely the team would bring out their #23 car to augment the attack.
Today DRR announced it reached an agreement with 1996 Indy 500 winner Buddy Lazier to drive the #23 Dallara/Chevy for this year's race. Lazier is a veteran of 83 Indy Racing League IndyCar Series races since 1996 and has reached the checkered flags first in eight of those events. He has 25 top- five finishes, 50 top-10 results that include his 1996 victory at the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.
"We're extremely fortunate to add Buddy to our team," Dennis Reinbold, DRR co-owner said this afternoon. "He knows how to win this race and, [together] with Felipe we believe we will be a factor on race day," May 30th.
It's a bit late to put this kind of deal together, but the Indianapolis 500 is known for breeding this type of relationships. "I've always enjoyed my relationship with Robbie and Dennis," Lazier agreed, "and I'm pleased to be working with Owen Snyder III and all of the crew members for Dreyer & Reinbold.
Admitting that "this is a very late arrangement, I feel strongly the information DRR has compiled through the first three months of the 2004 racing season will enable me to do my job most efficiently." For the first three races of the 2004 IndyCar Series season, however, teams have run last year's 3.5-liter engines with the 2003 chassis specifications. According to most drivers on-site at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the new package is a bit more difficult to drive on the challenging Brickyard oval.
Lazier has spent his entire Indy Racing League IndyCar Series career with Ron Hemelgarn's team and all of his accomplishments in the IRL occurred while driving their #91 car. The duo parted company late last season and Hemelgarn - who has an Indy 500 entry - has not been seen at 16th and Georgetown Roads.
"I have zero interest in running this race in a non-competitive way," Lazier emphasized. "I'm here to run to the front and make the most of what I'm given. I really thank Dennis and Robbie for the opportunity.
The DRR team is still working to finalize sponsorship details and expect to make an announcement within the next 48 hours. At this point, the partnership between Buddy Lazier and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing is for the Indy 500 only.
The Dreyer & Reinbold team's focus - as anyone else in the garage - is obviously on May 30th. "It's great to have Buddy on board and working with our team to maximize our data and information. Having that second car with Buddy's experience definitely helps with the learning curve in terms of assessing conditions and set-ups for the cars."
Lazier should be on the IMS oval when practice resumes Thursday at noon.